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How Superhero Muscles Became Weight Lifting’s Biggest Trend

How Superhero Muscles Became Weight Lifting’s Biggest Trend

Superhero films have become a film genre in their own right and have become some of the most popular and prosperous films in the industry. While actors have always set the benchmark for how most people want to look, from Arnold Schwarzenegger in the eighties to Brad Pitt in the nineties, the superhero genre has brought an increased awareness in achieving a certain type of body.

Watch any interview with the lead actor in a superhero film and inevitability the subject will turn to their workout regime. Indeed much of the film’s promotion will now be centered around the fitness regimes of the stars. There is much more interest compared to superheroes and bodybuilders from the eighties or early nineties. There are two reasons for this: increased access to health content and the actors and actresses who play the characters. The internet means that anyone can follow the workout regimes and diets of the stars to achieve the body they want. The bodybuilders of the eighties in contrast had a certain mystique around them. Here on Cyberflexing we did a profile on Lou Ferrigno who played the Hulk. The number of people who would have followed his workout routine compared to say Chris Hemsworth’s Thor workout is very small.

The modern superhero body is seen as attainable and nowhere is this more obvious than through Chris Pratt of Guardians of the Galaxy fame. Pratt’s transformation from an overweight actor to a superhero has become something of a fitness legend. The star has publicly spoken about the change he undertook with many articles in health magazines detailing his routine and diet. More importantly people can see the transformation through photos and recognize themselves in the old Pratt.

Schwarzenegger or Stallone have always appeared on screen as they were and have therefore always appeared to the public on a different fitness level. Superhero bodies are the latest trend because people can look at actors like Pratt and believe they can achieve it too.

Bodybuilding has a negative public image and superhero bodies are also heading in that direction. In The Atlantic’s article on the ‘perfect’ superhero body they warned “these superheroes are approaching a point of such rigid physical perfection that Hollywood is hovering dangerously close to the uncanny valley, a place of eerie, manufactured humanity.”

Strength has always been celebrated throughout human culture. The Nordic myths that inspired the Marvel version of Thor are some of the earliest examples of physical strength being linked to superheroes. Thor the god of thunder, like in the Marvel films, is known in the old myths for his incredible strength. This idea that heroes should be strong has permeated through our culture and can be seen everywhere from comic books to the Nordic figures in the slot game Nordic Heroes on the gaming platform Slingo. These types of games have become extremely popular in pop culture due to the success of Marvel and DC in the last decade, changing the face of the film industry forever with an endless conveyor belt of superhero films that don’t look like stopping anytime soon. Physical strength has always been used by companies to promote products, and the numerous workout articles on superheroes have just made it more attainable.

With dozens of superhero films lined up in the upcoming years don’t expect the trend to disappear soon. Weightlifting has a new objective that will be followed for years to come.

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